- Students need to have a “central role” in uploading and monitoring their own academic data, Rupa Gupta, a former administrator at a middle school in San Jose, CA, writes for EdSurge.
- After realizing that sophisticated data dashboards weren’t helping students reflect on their strengths and weaknesses or on where they had made progress, Gupta decided that students need better opportunities to understand their data.
- One model is having students work with a mentor to have weekly check-ins focusing on data. Another is a tool in which students record their own scores, make notes on what they might need to change and receive feedback from teachers.
Even in the early grades, students can begin following their progress through methods such as checklists and data notebooks. In the Montgomery County (MD) Public Schools, for example, classrooms have a data center where goals and responsibilities — for both students and the teacher — are posted as well as indicators of progress toward those goals. Students also have data notebooks or folders where they might record personal goals and have charts to monitor their progress. Students who have trouble organizing such information might find that they are better able to track their progress if it’s in a digital form.
But just as teachers can sometimes feel overwhelmed by the amount of student data available, students might also get bogged down in monitoring scores on quizzes, tests, reports, projects and other assignments. And if they are struggling in certain areas, having to enter their own scores or having it displayed might discourage them instead of motivating them to make improvements. That’s the reaction that some teachers are trying to avoid by turning away from the practice of using "data walls" that post students’ results. Teachers can help students prioritize which data are the most meaningful in reaching the goals for their grade level and to determine how to break up long-term goals into attainable steps.